It's Time for More Diversity in Digital Marketing

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history. Consumers' expectations are changing and marketers who are slow to adjust will quickly lose market share. In a recent research study by Quantilope, Gen Zers made clear that they want brands to step up their efforts around representation. 76% of Gen Zers said they feel diversity and inclusion is an important topic for brands to address, compared to 72% of millennials, 63% of Gen Xers, and 46% of Baby Boomers who felt the same. 

First, let's define it. What exactly is "diversity"?

At its most basic definition, diversity is the involvement of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The value of diversity, however, is much deeper than that. It's about inclusion. It's about welcoming and celebrating the unique voices that have always been present and worthy of being represented.

According to HubSpot, racial and ethnic minorities make up 40% of the U.S. population, 4.5% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ, and more than 40 million Americans have a disability. Even with their significant presence and purchasing power, these groups are not represented equally in marketing.

What does successful inclusive marketing look like?

Inclusive marketing describes campaigns that embrace diversity by representing people from a variety of backgrounds. Some of these campaigns may have the goal of breaking stereotypes and making social commentary, but others just reflect the real world (HubSpot).

Many companies have implemented more inclusive ideals into their marketing in ways that successfully represent the diversity of voices in their audience as well as boost their brand.

Brands can grow financially while promoting positive and affirming representation of diverse groups of people. It's a win-win, friends.

One example of successful inclusive marketing is Microsoft's We All Win ad.

The video features kids with physical disabilities as they play video games with Microsoft's adaptive controllers. Microsoft is effective at emotionally connecting with the audience and depicting the real-world stories of these kids with disabilities, while still promoting their brand.

Another example is Google's The Picture Perfect Life ad.

The ad gives tiny glimpses into the lives of real people. Google features individuals from a variety of ages and races and challenges viewers to question your lens, because one picture does not tell a whole story.

Why should brands care?

More and more, consumers are expecting companies' online marketing to be diverse and inclusive. Customers are actually more likely to support and be loyal to brands that promote diversity.

A 2018 study from Heat Agency analyzed ads from 50 brands and scored them on their diversity efforts. The research found that the brands that scored the highest had an average of a 44% stock increase over the previous two years and were 83% more likely to see a boost in their brand reputation scores.

When brands commit to their diversity efforts, it benefits the brands and the consumers. Again, nobody loses here.

Inclusion in online marketing is even more essential than in traditional marketing as younger demographics are the primary audiences for many digital advertising campaigns. As kids and young adults are finding their places in the world, it is so impactful for them to see themselves represented in the content they view online, even in the ads they come across.

Brands have to improve on inclusion in their digital marketing in order to keep up with the growingly diverse consumer market and truly connect with their audiences.

How can brands take a step in the right direction?

Showing genuine stories is essential. A great first step to take is reaching out to real customers and even employees with unique stories and backgrounds to learn what your brand means to them. This will provide insight into the diversity of people that exist within your audience and inform ways to emotionally connect with them in your marketing.

No matter what, keep your customers or clients at the center of everything you do. This is a good rule for every aspect of your business, not just marketing. Without customers, brands would not exist. Seek to understand your customers' unique stories and struggles, and search for ways your company can celebrate those stories and ease those struggles.

Diversity and inclusion in marketing require direct action and deep transformation of brands' current marketing strategies. But it is worth it to equally and accurately represent the diverse communities that exist in our society.

If you are ready to transform your digital marketing strategy and boost your brand, contact us today to learn how our team can help you.

10 Black Podcasts that You Need In Your Life

If you believe that #BlackLivesMatter, it's not enough to merely post a black square or post protest photos and links on your Instagram Stories. As allies, it is imperative to support and advocate for Black People in America through our votes, our donations, and the media that we choose to consume. You can sign a petition, donate to your local bail fund or Black Lives Matter, purchase from Black-owned restaurants, stores, and businesses. Start at home by having tough conversations with friends and family members who may be either blissfully unaware or militantly vocal about their implicit biases. Stream movies, support Black artists on Patreon, and subscribe to podcasts from Black creators. 

We've curated a list of podcasts to get you started and would love to hear additional recommendations you all may have. At Random, we are committed to educating ourselves and our clients on how to be better allies and responsible global citizens. While you make your way through these trailers, take a moment to ensure that you are registered to vote for the upcoming primary and general elections. And while you're at it ” fill out the 2020 Census. It's never been more important. 

1. Scam Goddess

Scam Goddess is a podcast dedicated to exposing fraud and all those who practice it. Each week, host Laci Mosley keeps listeners up to date on current rackets, digs deep into the latest scams, and breaks down historic hoodwinks alongside some of your favorite comedians. Every episode starts with a recent scam, funny story, or letter from a listener. My favorite episode so far featured Jameela Jamil and was released during quarantine. Together they broke down the scam from Caroline Calloway ” the Instagram influencer who launched a "creativity workshop" that failed in a spectacularly public fashion. Some even called it a one-woman Fyre fest.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/09S0PCArMmrvnogyL0uX3c?si=ur8CvqNvQ0KjQWtl-x_5EA

2. What A Day

What A Day is a daily podcast that cuts through all the chaos and criminal activity to help you understand important initiatives and how you can contribute“ all in just fifteen minutes. The show is hosted by comedian Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick. Episodes are available at 5 am every day, so it's a perfect addition to your morning routine. 

3. Keep It!

Keep It! has been around since 2018, which means there are SO MANY great episodes to binge. Each week, hosts Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel, and Aida Osman discuss the ways pop culture and the entertainment industry intersect with politics and society. They're joined by insanely popular guests on every episode ” Issa Rae, Tim Gunn, Ronan Farrow, and Angela Bassett just to name a few. In a recent episode with Bowen Yang, the Keep It! hosts discuss #BlackLivesMatter protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder, #BlackoutTuesday, and more. If you're a white person with questions about substantive allyship, give this episode a listen.

4. Nerdificent

This podcast is a must-listen for the inner nerd inside us all ” whether you like virtual reality or Dungeons & Dragons. Each episode focuses on a nerdy topic and is hosted by Dani Fernandez and Ify Nwadiwe. Whenever I listen to an episode of Nerdificent, I feel like I'm nerding out with friends and it's just pure, unadulterated fun. And if that wasn't enough, they also break down the history, culture, and future of every topic. Below is one of my favorite episodes on my guilty pleasure: Pokémon

5. Margaritas & Donuts

If you love romantic comedies, this podcast is for you! Faith McQuinn created this sensational  audiodrama about dating over age 40. The story centers around Josephine, her best friend Katrina, and her love interest named Malik. The casting, sound effects and masterful storytelling really sucks you in ” I'm not even embarrassed to say that I binged all 6 episodes in one day.

6. Code Switch

NPR's Code Switch tackles the subject of race head-on ” how race impacts politics, pop culture, history, sports, and everything in between. It's an extremely impactful and important examination of the structures that shape our lives, whether or not we are conscious of them. To keep up with the latest around the protests, #BlackLivesMatter, and policing, subscribe to the podcast, but also follow @CodeSwitch on Twitter. You won't regret it. 

7. Boom

If romcoms aren't your thing, you should definitely check out Boom: A Serial Drama, another audiodrama created by Faith McQuinn. BOOM is an exploration of  loss and recovery. Porter, a computer technician and outdoor enthusiast, must come to terms with the tragic murder of his best friend”and love of his life”Genevieve. It's far from an easy road for Porter who suffers through a harrowing  physical recovery as well as a mental one. The lead detective on the case believes Porter is the killer, and his two best friends are trying their hardest to get him to resemble  the guy he once was. This story was a great commute podcast for me, and I highly recommend it as a switch up from Audible.

8. The Nod

While this podcast is no longer actively producing episodes, it's still on our top 10 list due to  the amazing stories of Black life and culture that don't get told anywhere else. The show ranges from an explanation of purple drink's association with Black culture to the story of an interracial drag troupe that traveled the nation in the 1940s. They celebrate the genius, the innovation, and the resilience that is so particular to being Black ” in America, and around the world. If you're a white person looking to expand your knowledge and understanding of the Black experience in America , this podcast is a must-listen. 

9. Why Won't You Date Me?

I have been a fan of Nicole Byer since her days on Girl Code in 2013. Her career in TV has skyrocketed since then, and like her other projects, this podcast doesn't disappoint. Perpetually single, Nicole invites her friends, comedians, and ex-lovers to interview them about their love lives. Below is one of my favorite episodes with Ann Payne where they discuss a guy she met in AA who ended up in prison for arson. And when you're finished binging her podcast, check out Nicole Byer's original show on Facebook Watch called Loosely, Exactly, Nicole. It ended 2 years ago, but it's worth every second of your attention.

10. Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a visual artist, and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with former San Quentin resident Antwan WilliamsThe show takes a deep dive into the life of prisoners at San Quentin State Prison with most episodes recorded inside prison walls. Ear Hustle reveals deep insight into the American prison system and the cultural factors that influence recidivism in the U.S. One of my favorite episodes in the latest season is called "Hold That Space." In this episode, Nigel and Earlonne interview four women in relationships with incarcerated men and the unique challenges they face.